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Texas Penalties for Leaving a Child in a Hot Vehicle

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It’s no secret that temperatures in Texas can rise to dangerous levels. Under certain conditions, the heat can become so intense that injury or death can occur.

Many tragic deaths have resulted from children being left inside vehicles in the Texas heat. This problem has become so widespread that specific laws have been created to address it and provide punishments for offenders.

What Can Happen if a Child is Left in a Hot Auto?

Although hot cars pose the greatest risk to children, the law does not stipulate that the weather has to be sweltering to charge parents with a crime. Prolonged exposure to the heated environment inside a car can cause the onset of acute heat exhaustion. This condition can lead to permanent brain, liver or kidney damage and even death.

Who Can be Charged With Leaving a Minor in a Car?

A person does not have to be a mom, dad or guardian of a minor in order to be accused. In fact, anyone who is driving a motor vehicle with a youngster in it can face allegations if they leave the child in the car unattended.

Penalties for Leaving a Kid in an Automobile

According to Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code, to be charged, a person must have:

  • Left the minor in the auto for more than five minutes
  • The youngster must have been under 7 years of age and not attended by another person 14 years of age or older

This behavior is a Class C misdemeanor which is punishable by a $500 fine for a first time offense. Also, this assaultive offense is classified as neglectful supervision that will be investigated by Child Protective Services.

For more information about child abuse or neglect crimes, call 713-227-0087 and schedule a sit-down with Brett A. Podolsky.

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